In case you Browncoats missed the post title, let me repeat… this is THE Firefly book you’ve been waiting for for 10 years. Firefly: A Celebration pulls together three previously published Titan books into one massive, faux-leather, 550 page hardbound book filled with full-color photos and enough reading material to cover at least three months travel across The Black. What’s in it? Glad you asked.
* Interviews — Whedon, Fillion, Staite, Tudyk, Baccarin, Baldwin, Maher, Glass, Torres, and and Glau… plus plenty more with those involved in artwork, directing, music, and much more.
* Full scripts for all episodes — Even if you’ve memorized every bit of dialogue, it’s so cool to be able to read stage directions and the thoughts of the writers when they set up a scene or provide background for the actors to get a better grip on their characters’ actions and responses.
* Prop Closeups — There are tons of closeup photos of weapons, badges, outfits, consoles, and yes, Serenity and its numerous nooks and crannies. Much of this is often paired with some descriptions of how something was made. Anyone want to recreate Vera? You’ll find enough detailed images here to make that happen (plus any of the other weapons to complete your costume).
What else? Okay, here’s more, but I know it’s not complete and I’ve missed stuff:
* Essays on each of the primary characters, including information on casting and original motivations (that may or may not have changed once filming started)
* Small snippets of memories from the actors about key scenes or funny stories, scattered throughout the scripts
* Intros to each script tell how an episode may have been changed from the original script — some real surprises scattered in these, so read them
* Closeups of the currency that you only glimpse here and there in episodes — now you’ve got full-color and large examples to reference
* A breakdown of Mal’s pistol, showing its origins (a Taurus 85) plus a closeup of Mal’s holster for you cosplayers
* Photos of the spacesuits that are so difficult to get in full length detail from the episodes
* The full story on Kaylee’s dress/ball gown
* Did you know that Badger’s character was originally going to be played by Whedon? Get details on the outfit including how Mark A. Sheppard made the outfit his own.
* Closeups of Serenity’s ship papers, almost 80% readable, including the leather book that holds it
* Beautiful hand-sketches (in full color) of all the major characters’ costumes — including fabric scraps and notes about those few characters who had nude scenes
* “Hero of Canton” original lyrics as well as the story behind its creation
* “The Ballad of Serenity” by Joss Whedon — and, of course, a couple of stories about its origin and compromises that were made on its sound
* Nice long section on Production Design and information on how CGI Serenity became Real Serenity on stages — also a nice cutaway drawing of the decks
* Most detailed photo ever seen of Jayne’s gun-cleaning kit as well as a layout of his gun belt with holster and ammo bag
* Closeups of the crew medical badges for the Ariel episode, including the hilarious fake names given to them that were never readable on screen
* Detailed write-ups on every crew member’s unique costume plus the same details for episode-specific costumes
* Photos of more props than you’ll ever remember existed in the show, including closeups for cosplayers – lamps, hand computers, comm devices, knives, patches, Kaylee’s techy tools, and the list goes on and on…
* An article about Firefly episodes that never got made
* Closeups of Simon’s medical equipment, including some of the unique props that fly by so fast such as the adrenaline hypodermic needle info band and some scopes and scalpels
* Two short stories from original Firefly writers, including one that tells a tale of a retired captain getting news about one of his old crewmembers who has died
* The Writing Process — an outstanding essay by Jane Espenson about creating a television episode and the steps involved in developing the story
* Storyboard images for the “Battle of Serenity Valley” episode – over 50 of them showing the progress of that first fight scene with Mal and Zoe
* Gina Torres’ reaction to Wash’s death in the movie — short but memorable
* Closeup of some of the damage done by River to Book’s Bible, Burgess’ Laser pistol, and Wash’s dinosaurs (detailed and perfect for cosplayers looking for the exact dinosaurs and custom paint jobs)
* The story of The Lassiter — Did you know The Lassiter existed as a prop long before Firefly ever existed? Get the story on the first practical laser weapon from one of the best heist episodes ever, complete with closeups AND details on the actual flashlight and 60s raygun used for its creation
* The Story of Monkey Shines, one long-running prank that happened on set, complete with ransom letters, photos, and details about the culprit
* Full page spread of six of Jayne’s tee shirts — go crazy, cosplayers!
* A detailed story about the creation of Jayne’s pom-pom hat
* Two full-color hand-drawn pages from the kid story, Fun with Dick and Jayne
* The answer to what ever happened to Jayne’s statue head
* Great behind-the-scene photos and essay about the locales that were used for filming key scenes
* Early drawings of Serenity and a progressive development of images and text on how the ship was finalized – TONS of closeup photos from around the ship, including medical, bridge, and walkways as well as details on other ships including Reavers, med ships, and Alliance ships
* Essays on Browncoats, conventions, merchandise, charities, and more
* Nine full-color cast photos (one actor per photo) suitable for framing plus one extra with a closeup of an Alliance bank note
Is there more? Absolutely… the above list was just me flipping through the book again looking for all the stuff I could tell you about, but I’ve missed plenty… including small bits on music and set design and fight scenes and… well, you get the picture.
Firefly: A Celebration is a 550-page book dedicated to one of the best sci-fi shows ever developed. It’ll make you smile… and it may make you cry. It will definitely make you wonder what could have been with a second season… or maybe even a third or beyond. Given the show only had 14 episodes, it’s amazing just how much information Titan has pulled together here. While some of the stories are familiar to fans, there’s plenty here that you probably do not know (well, unless you owned the three individual books originally published by Titan). They’ve wrapped it up in a nice brown faux-leather cover, complete with gold leaf Firefly logo and stamped with A Celebration and Created by Joss Whedon.
I’m already looking forward to going back and re-watching every episode again with the scripts nearby — there are a number of key scenes that I’ve always had questions about and now have answers… bits of dialogue that flew by and I missed something. It’s also nice to read interviews with the actors and realize that they feel the exact same way about the show as the fans, including details on how they got the news that the show was being cancelled… and the news about the movie being given the go-ahead.
Cosplayers are going to make loud “Squee!” sounds when they get their hands on this book… for me, I expected the delivery and ran fast to the door when the UPS guy rang the doorbell. I wasted no time ripping the box open (forget the scissors!) and pulling the book out — the weight of the box gave me a good hint of what was inside.
Grab your copy and dig in… like I said, there’s enough reading here to last you a good while. If you’re like me, you’ll be taken back to 2002 when the episodes began to air (and not in the right order, but did we care?) and Firefly will be new again. The book is allowing me to experience the show again, but from a more knowledgable position about the actors, the directors, the storytellers, and the plots. And I’m loving every minute of it.
Note: Thanks to Tom at Titan for providing this Firefly fan with his review copy!